By Aminata Ceesay
The National Youth Council over the weekend commemorated International Youth Day in form of dialogue, march past and press briefing.
International Youth Day is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.
This year the international theme for the day is youth peace building with the local theme adding “delivering an inclusive new Gambia.”
Speaking to the press, the executive director NYC, Lamin Darboe said: “The current generations of youth are the largest in history and young people often comprise the majority in countries marked by armed conflict or unrest, therefore considering the needs and aspirations of youth in matters of peace and security is a demographic imperative.
“Another Security Council resolution, resolution 2282 (2016) recognizes that the scale and challenges of sustaining peace requires partnerships between stakeholders, including youth organizations. It also reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts, and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peace building efforts.”
He revealed that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is committed to fostering peaceful and inclusive societies and affirmed that ‘sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security’.
“Goal 16 aims to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-marking at all levels. The world programme of Action for youth, which provides a policy framework and practical guidelines to improve the situation of young people, also encourages promoting the active involvement of youth in maintaining peace and security.
“Young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and in society more broadly, is key to building and sustaining peace. The process of social inclusion for youth, including participation in decision-marking as well as access to quality education, health care and basic services promotes their role as active contributors to society and affords young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals,” Darboe said.
He pointed out that when youth are excluded from political, economic and social spheres and processes, it can be a risk factor for violence and violent forms of conflict. “Therefore, identifying and addressing the social exclusion of young people is a precondition for sustaining peace.”